Have you seen the “rules” of a happy household – where it starts with “If you take it out, put it away”? Many of them are useful rules for limiting the degree of chaos, while others are to make Mom happy! If we could all put things back where they belong when we’re done with them, we’d have greater organization. Sometimes this is easier said than done.
1. If you take it out, put it away.
2. If you eat on it, wash it.
3. If you turn it on, turn it off.
4. If you mess it up, clean it up.
5. If you drop it, pick it up.
6. If it rings, answer it.
7. If it barks, walk it.
8. If you open it, close it.
9. If I cook it, eat it.
10. If I say do it, don’t ask why.
I know from my own behavior that there are times when I’ve taken something out, and after I’ve finished using it, I think to myself – “I’m going to use this again tomorrow…” Then, there are times that I say to myself – “I’ll put it away later…” To some extent, I think this applies to all of us – even the most organized – we don’t always put things away right after we’re finished using it. Nor do I think we have to.
What we do need to work on is getting it put away regularly and before too much time has passed. If I toss my tissues toward the wastebasket, when I walk by it, I then bend down, quickly pick them up, and put them in the trash. If I make a pile for another room, when I next get up and move around, I grab the pile and move it into the right room.
I’ve talked about this before in “Getting Things to Their Home,” and focused on finding ways to “Make It Fun.” There are other ways to work on these applicable rules for organization – use a timer. You might be rolling your eyes at me – here she goes again with that timer. Yet seriously, if you have a stack of CD’s that haven’t been put away, time yourself on putting them away – or time yourself with whatever it is that isn’t getting put away.
Another way to approach working on putting things back where they belong is to set the timer for a set amount of time and work on it until the timer buzzes. Use the timer to help you – whether to time yourself or you designate a specific amount of time with it.
It is easy to say to yourself, “I’ll just do it later” and that “later” doesn’t arrive (or it arrives in a week or a month). If you make it part of your routine, just those few seconds of picking up the trash that missed the trashcan or whatever it might be – your home can be that much more presentable and more importantly, pleasing to you. There’s not many of us who don’t automatically close the drawers and cabinets in our kitchens – and might even dismiss that as easy – yet it’s the same idea – “If you open it, close it.”
Putting something away after we’ve taken it out can be just as easy, we just need to work on making it as automatic as closing the drawers after we’ve gotten something out of it. The timer can help with the idea that it’s more time consuming than we realize. In working to keep things organized:
- If you take it out, put it away.
- If you eat on it, wash it. (I don’t do this each time, but I do it regularly!)
- If you turn it on, turn it off.
- If you mess it up, clean it up.
- If you drop it, pick it up.
- If you open it, close it.
None of these things would take us that much time – test it out and use your timer to find out for yourself.